Matthew Shipp

The Unidentifiable

Starting in the bebop era, the piano-bass-drums lineup has been the most classic jazz format in which the piano is featured, accumulating the weight of history and critical expectations. In this setting, a non-mainstream player such as Shipp can infiltrate Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and other Establishment bastions in a familiar format and then unleash his ideas on audiences that might not normally be exposed to his style. Thanks to hearing it in the communal language of the piano trio, they can better understand the message the Matthew Shipp Trio has to deliver – “Mr. Shipp’s predilection for finding fertile ground between accessibility and abstraction,” as Larry Blumenfeld wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Shipp says, "The piano trio is such a basic configuration in jazz, and it is an honor to take a well-explored area and apply my imagination to it to see where we can go—it helps that my trio mates are great." Shipp, Bisio, and Baker convened at Shipp's favorite recording venue last year looking to pursue a new direction. The result is both distinctively Shippian yet a further evolution of the group’s sound.

Matthew Shipp, piano; Michael Bisio, bass; Newman Taylor Baker, drums.

Recorded October 10, 2019 at Park West Studios in Brooklyn, NY by Jim Clouse. Produced by Steve Holtje.

Track Listing:

01. Blue Transport System             5:31

02. Trance Frame                               2:02

03. Phantom Journey                       5:32

04. Dark Sea Negative Charge       6:11

05. The Dimension                             3:57

06. Loop                                                 3:39

07. The Unidentifiable                     7:10

08. Virgin Psych Space 1                                  0:40

09. Virgin Psych Space 2                                  4:54

10. Regeneration                               4:39

11. New Heaven and New Earth 10:31


press praise for the Matthew Shipp Trio’s previous release, Signature (ESP-Disk’, 2019):

New York Times: “It’s a joy to follow his ardent, two-handed flow, unfolding like a well-told surrealist narrative, and his joyful interactions with the bassist Michael Bisio and the drummer Newman Taylor Baker.” – Giovanni Russonello

Downbeat: “An excellent showcase for the pianist’s current trio—tender lyricism—infectious.”

Step Tempest: “Stunning lyricism—every track is a gem—modern music at its best —one of the top three recordings Matthew Shipp has made.” – Richard B. Kamins

Brooklyn Rail: “Yet another boundary-pushing set for ESP-Disk' titled Signature—Shipp and trio have arguably made their best record, a wild inventive sprawl of brain-bending meditations and bold abstraction that show the trio on an astounding level only they occupy.” – George Grella

Avant Music News: “Signature is a high point for Shipp in a career that consists of a remarkable number of high points.” – Mike Borella

Jazz Trail: “dazzling activity—eloquent—charmingly lyrical –magical complexity.” – Filipe Freitas

Musicians: Matthew Shipp

Digital download Choice of WAVs or MP3s
Compact Disk Digipak with liner notes by poet/scene observer Yuko Otomo.
  • Product Code: ESP5039
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $12.98
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

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